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Pagoda dogwood is an excellent native plant for the four season garden. The unique horizontal  branching pattern has a distinct tiered habit, often catching snow in the winter. Clusters of white flowers show up in spring, dark green foliage turns a beautiful burgundy-red in fall, and blue-black berries attract many birds. Pagoda dogwood makes an excellent small tree or large shrub in a shade garden or for naturalizing.  

This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

 

Botanical name:

Cornus alternifolia

All Common Names:

Pagoda dogwood, Alternate-leaved dogwood, Alternate-leaf dogwood

Family (English):

Dogwood

Family (Botanic):

Cornaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub,
  • Tree

Foliage:

  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • Under utility lines

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Specimen,
  • Utility

Size Range:

  • Small tree (15-25 feet),
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

Mature Height:

15-25 feet

Mature Width:

20-32 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Acid Soils:

  • Prefers

Alkaline Soils:

  • Intolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Intolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Intolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms,
  • Fall color,
  • Fragrant flowers,
  • Showy fruit,
  • Showy flowers

Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Mid winter,
  • Late winter,
  • Late spring,
  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

Shape or Form:

  • Broad,
  • Oval,
  • Round,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

Wildlife:

  • Butterflies,
  • Game birds,
  • Small mammals,
  • Songbirds,
  • Water birds

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